by Riley Fletcher
KILMARNOCK—Lancaster County and the Access to Public Waters Workgroup continue the planning stage for three waterfront public access sites.
Carter Cove, Taylor Creek Park and Windmill Point are all part of a countywide effort to expand public access. Each of these proposed sites has recreational and educational value—allowing the public to enjoy the landscape while also learning about the area’s natural resources. The workgroup noted that Lancaster County is committed to making all the sites accessible and well within the standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Planned renovations to Carter Cove County Park begin with widening of the access point off of Carter’s Cove Road, the planners explained. The septic field at the entrance will be repurposed, possibly as a dog park, and a buffer will be put in place against nearby private properties.
The workgroup’s primary focus of the Carter Cove renovations will be restoration of an exisiting oyster house. Lancaster County and the board of supervisors have agreed to a historic rebuild, with the goal of establishing self-guided museum exhibits. The oyster house will be seen as a multi-purpose area, providing a glimpse into oystering history while also offering shade.
Carter Cove also can offer water safety education through its docks and kayak launch. “Environmental education is a huge portion” of the renovation project, said workgroup chairman Bruce Julian. The site will be available for family reunions and other social gatherings.
Taylor Creek Park
The county-designated Taylor Creek public access area begins just beyond The Tides Inn’s new workforce boardinghouses off of Weems Road.
Where Carter Cove will be a family-friendly venue for larger receptions, Taylor Creek Park will be a quieter, more nature-focused site. The county plans to plant more native species in the park and on nearby county property.
The park will be limited to 15 parking spaces, with allowance for cartop boats only. Rather than paving, the county hopes to put in a crushed stone, two-lane road this fall or winter. Although a zigzag path to the water has been proposed, there is also the idea of a raised pier, similar to the boardwalk at The Tides Inn.
“The Tides Inn is tremendous to work with,” said Julian.
Phase 1 of Windmill Point renovations will include installing 16,000 cubic yards of sand to move the beach back out 100 feet from its current shoreline. These breakwaters will address concerns of encroaching waves on the shorelines and waterfront homes.
The county has obtained a perpetual easement for beach expansion, and is committed to shoreline restoration.
Phase 2 will include installation of a fishing pier, extending from a cove near the Tiki Bar & Grill at Windmill Point. Its length is currently undecided, but the goal is to reach into the deeper waters. New signs also will be added at the nearby Windmill Point Canoe and Kayak Launch.
The Lancaster County Board of Supervisors and the Access to Public Waters Workgroup plan to meet for an on-site work session later in July. Julian said they hope to come up with an updated draft of plans for each of these sites in August.